Saturday, June 16, 2012

Two more tourist deaths on Phi Phi island.

Two Canadian sisters died they same way as Jill and Julie on Phi-Phi Island.

Horrible loss for the family. Our warmest thoughts go to you.

Interesting to read the Leleena Guest house has changed it's name!


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Thailand to start investigating future tourist deaths...

It sounds like Thailand will start investigating tourists deaths. Crazy this was even an issue that needed to be corrected. Hopefully families won't have to go through what ours, and many other families, had to in order to get any information.


Phuket Expat Deaths Likely to be More Closely
Investigated After Chiang Mai Report
By Alan Morison
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
PHUKET: In the wake of a series of unexplained deaths in Chiang Mai
earlier this year, Thai authorities are acting to prevent pesticide
poisoning of tourists and to more closely monitor the causes of deaths
of expats.

The report by the investigating body is likely to resonate on Phuket
and in Pattaya and among envoys from many countries who would like
more thorough investigations of all deaths of expat residents and
For Phuket and Pattaya, the most pertinent paragraph of the report
reads: ''Surveillance of hospitalised tourists, already in effect,
will be continued and a new protocol for investigation of fatal cases
is being adopted.''

It's too early to say how far-reaching the new approach will be, but
Thai authorities appear to be in the process of recognising that every
tourist and expat death - whether in Chiang Mai, Phuket, Pattaya,
Samui or Bangkok - needs to be properly investigated and an accurate
cause of death determined.

Too often, local investigating police make the only decision on the
cause of death. Chemical tests and autopsies are rare, and cannot be
performed on Phuket.

It was the death of 23-year-old tourist Sarah Carter that first
prompted an investigation in Chiang Mai - and other deaths became
linked until authorities were forced to instigate a full and proper

Official attitudes appear to have changed significantly since two
young tourist women, a Norwegian and an American (Jill and Julie), died
in mysterious circumstances after falling ill at the Laleena
guesthouse on Phi Phi in 2009...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Update from Embassy...

This is in response to your e-mail earlier today titled "From Mother of
victim Jill St. Onge."
Charles Carson departed Bangkok about a year ago.

We have been in touch with our counterparts from the Embassies of Norway
and New Zealand following yesterday's new report about identification of
the pesticide clorpyphiros as a possible cause of the recent unresolved
deaths in Chiang Mai. As you know, the U.S. Mission has offered the
technical assistance of Centers for Disease Control personnel in
Thailand to assist the Ministry of Public Health in its investigation.
That investigation continues.

Extensive information about clorpyphiros is available on the
Environmental Protection Agency's website, much of it from academic
sources. It appears that the primary reason clorpyphiros is no longer
approved for use for non-agricultural applications (except in child
resistant ant and roach traps) is due to risks chronic exposure poses
for vulnerable individuals, particularly small children. I have not had
time to search this information exhaustively, but it appears that
extremely high concentrations would be needed to cause death as quickly
as happened to your daughter, Ms. Burgheim, or the individuals in Chiang
Mai. It is premature to link all nine deaths to clorpyphiros.

Investigators have still not released the final report in your
daughter's case, although we contact them regularly. Please let me know
about other questions you may have and know that you have our deepest

Tim Swanson

Timothy C. Swanson
Chief, American Citizen Services
U.S. Embassy Bangkok
phone: 66-2-205 4049
fax: 66-2-205-4103

This email is UNCLASSIFIED.

Monday, May 9, 2011

60 Minutes New Zealand Video

60 Minutes in New Zealand went to Thailand to investigate the death of Sarah Carter. Sarah Carter died very much the same way as Jill and Julie on Phi Phi Island. Her friends and family have set up this website...

The 60 Minutes video is well done and they show a picture of Jill and Julie. They concluded pesticide used for bed bugs was the cause for Sarah's passing. We suspected this back in July 2009

The link to the 60 Minutes video is here and about 15 min long...

Lots of thanks to Buck for writing a multi-page charge document against the Laleena guest house and emailing it to everyone we could think of... including the King of Thailand. We have received lots of feedback from it and have shared it with Sarah Carters family.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Five deaths in a six-week spell

This is insane!

Five deaths in the same hotel in a six-week time frame all having the same symptoms and the Thai governments response is...
"We have to admit that these deaths coming one after another are nothing more than coincidence."

This article also states that one of the ladies that passed was from Seattle. I was notified by the family of Soraya Pandola-Vorster that she was actually from Berkeley, CA. Keep her family and friends in your thoughts as they are going through the same frustrating process as we did.
"American Mariam Soraya Vorster, a 33-year-old from..."


Monday, March 7, 2011

Another tragic Thailand death

So I have received a few emails from people alerting me to an incident that hits close to home. A young women that was from New Zealand, Sarah Carter, died while three others became very ill in a hotel in Thailand. She died fast and sounds like the same symptoms Jill and Julie had. From some of the articles I have read it sounds like her family is in the same situation as we are and Julie's family is in. They just want answers and some help from the embassy. I wish them the best, and am truly sympathetic for their loss.

Please give the articles a read and pass them on...


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Been about a year...

March 30, 2009

The families and friends of Jill St. Onge and Julie Bergheim want to know what killed these two beautiful healthy women, and will not give up the investigation. It has almost been 11 months since their tragic deaths on May 3rd 2009 while visiting Koh Phi Phi Island and there is not a day or night that we, Jill’s family, her fiancĂ© Ryan, and friends, don’t miss her. We are in communication with Julie’s family in Norway, and are working collaboratively to continue to gather information and find answers. If there is anyone out there that has some information regarding the deaths, please don’t be afraid to speak up. The truth needs to be revealed now in order to save future lives.
You can email any info to

The Thailand investigation around the deaths of Jill and Julie is inadequate. The efficiency and quality of gathering forensic evidence is severely lacking in comparison to the U.S. standards. The U.S. Embassy in Bangkok is able to make formal written requests to various Thailand agencies, but only Thailand officials are allowed to perform the actual investigations. We have contacted other numerous U.S. agencies for assistance, but are ultimately referred back to the Bangkok Embassy due to political reasons. This stirs the question: if this case involved celebrities or high ranking officials, would there be a greater motivation for investigation and sanctions from both government agencies?

Although Jill and Julie mysteriously died on May 3, 2009, air samples were not collected by the Office of Disease and Prevention until June 13, 2009, more than FIVE weeks later. The results of the air tests from rooms 2, 4 & 5 came back normal however room 6 showed results of extremely toxic levels of toluene, pyridine, methylchoride, and acetalene, which we understand to be lethal poisons. What caused room 6 to have such deadly levels of poisons in the air and where is it located in relation to rooms 4 and 5?

Material evidence from the Guesthouse was not collected until May 21, 2009, almost three weeks after the deaths. The Scientific Crime Detection Department from Phuket gathered evidence from the Laleena Guest House on Phi Phi Island. The material taken from the guesthouse included cleaners, bug-killer, tap water, and 2 air conditioning filters. Unfortunately almost 11 months later most of the evidence is missing and of the items collected, only the tap water was tested (results were negative). Thankfully, Lora O. Lund - Consul and Chief of American Citizen Services from our Embassy in Bangkok, has written letters firmly requesting the whereabouts of the missing samples. As of today, there is still no response from Thai authorities.

Another possible source for the cause of deaths, the nearby waste water treatment plant, has still not been investigated. Strong smells emanating from the plant were reported by both survivors, Ryan Kells and Karina Refseth. Every medical expert we have contacted indicated there should always be a vast restricted area around a waste water treatment plant and no businesses or homes should ever be allowed to exist in close proximity due to the lethal toxins they emit. Interestingly, at the time of Jill and Julie’s deaths there was a contaminated dirt canal running around the Guesthouse which almost immediately after their deaths was cemented over, which gives all appearances of an attempt to cover some evidence. Again, more questions are raised: Was it perhaps the combined toxic poisons from room 6 and the waste water plant that lead to their untimely deaths?

The canal when these deaths happened RIGHT behind Laleena Guesthouse...

The canal a few months later...

The scariest thing is that the Guesthouse reopened very quickly with business as usual. Rat Chuped, the owner of the Leleena Guesthouse, showed very little sorrow and appeared only interested in losing business. Travel to Ko Phi Phi should be prohibited until the source of the 2 deaths is found. More importantly, the guesthouse and all other businesses on Phi Phi need to relocate to a safe distance from the waste water treatment plant immediately. The plant should be inspected by impartial inspectors for safety before allowing unknowing tourists to stay in the area.

Both Jill and Julie were very healthy young women, so it seems obvious that something was inhaled at the guesthouse that took our Jill from us, and Julie from her family. We will not rest until answers are found. We know that there are those who are withholding vital information which could save lives and implore that anyone with any information to speak up in order to save future innocent lives as well as to honor the memory of those whose lives have been taken from them.

~Jill's Friends and Family ~